GAME NAME: Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
DEVELOPER(S): Starbreeze Studios
PUBLISHER(S): 505 Games
PLATFORM(S): Xbox 360
RELEASE DATE(S): 7 August 2013
With every new generation of consoles, there’s always one or two games that slip under the radar, yet possesses more magical moments in their first opening sequences than some block busters do over the span of a series. In this generation, Journey is a great example of such a game. Brothers: A Tale of Two, though incredibly short, is an exquisite journey from the minute you press the start button.
The opening sequence has you witnessing a lady drowning while her son helplessly sits in the boat crying, paving the way for what’s to come. As the title would suggest, this adventure revolves around two brothers whose father, after several years, is in dire need of medicine to survive. In their aim to keep their lasting parent alive, they embark on a journey retrieve the ‘Water of Life’.
The adventure that subsequently unfolds, an adventure that boasts trolls, giants and all forms of fantasy references, sees you take control of the two brothers individually. The bigger brother has strength on his side and the ability to swim, whereby the smaller brother can make his way though small cracks. Your left analogue stick controls the big brother with the left trigger activating his actions, while the right analogue stick and trigger mimics the controls for the smaller brother. On the surface, this might seem like a simple task, but when you find the big brother on the right hand side of the screen and the smaller brother to the left, it does send your logical brain signals into a frenzy.
Throughout your quest, you work as a team. In the earlier stages, you’ll bump into a cornfield with a dog out for blood. Your aim is to move one from one rock to the next, using each brother to call the dog away so that it gives the other brother time to run to the next rock. It’s tough as you have to keep in mind where each brother is and make sure that you don’t confuse the two as falling off the rock will mean certain death. Later on, you’ll be using a rope to climb a castle and witness the brothers swinging from one vantage point to the next. Keep in mind that when the one brother is swinging, the other needs to hold on for dear life by holding his respective trigger button, and at the same time, you’re required to time the trigger press for the other brother. It really does get frantic in certain parts. At no point throughout the game however, do you ever press any of the face buttons.
And that really sets the tone for the game. Action and violence junkies best stay away as you won’t find a trace of it in this game. There is, perhaps, a smidgeon of action, but it’s right near the end and only very mediocre in terms of being visceral. It’s hard to believe that this comes from the guys who brought us The Darkness and The Chronicles of Riddick. What you will find lots of is surprises around each corner and some of the most unique and brilliant ideas of gameplay I’ve seen in years. The puzzles are not all that difficult, though they’re extremely satisfying to figure out. I’d love to tell you about some of the other events that take place throughout the game, but that would be spoiling something you just have to experience for yourself.
Think Journey meets Fable meets The Neverending Story, add to that a tale that will stay with you for years to come and you’ve got what could possibly be one of the best games available on Xbox Live Arcade. It’s a beautiful-looking game, with couches scattered throughout the game to give you a moment to take in the artistic backdrops. Brothers: A Tale of Two is simply unmissable, it’s as easy as that.